IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Business Advice: The Influence of Distance


  • Robert Bennett
  • William Bratton
  • Paul Robson


BENNETT R. J., BRATTON W. A. and ROBSON P. J. A. (2000) Business advice: the influence of distance, Reg. Studies 34, 813-828. This paper examines the external advisors used by small businesses to help them solve their problems, focusing on distance between client and advisor. The analysis is based on a new stratified random sample survey of small businesses in manufacturing and services in five representative locations in Britain. The paper reports the distance between client and advisor, cost and extent of site visits by the advisor, focusing on differences between types of advisor, fields of advice, types of firm by size and sector, and types of location. The analysis demonstrates the importance of localization: 60.5% of advisors are drawn from within 10 km of the client, and 81·5% from within 25 km. The high degree of localization is shown to be chiefly dependent on accessibility and advisor location. The general pattern of client-advisor relations is demonstrated to be modelled accurately by a standard spatial interaction model. A key finding is that the spatial pattern of the location of the supply of advisors, particularly the size of the business centres in which they are located, must be taken into account simultaneously with the role of distance in order to explain the pattern of choice of business advisors. BENNETT R. J., BRATTON W. A. et ROBSON P. J. A. (2000) Le conseiller d'entreprise: l'effet distance, Reg. Studies 34, 34 , 813-828. Cet article cherche a examiner les conseillers externes employes par les petites entreprises pour les aider a resoudre leurs problemes, portant sur la distance entre le client et le conseiller. L'analyse est fondee sur un echantillonnage aleatoire par tranche aupres des petites entreprises dans les secteurs secondaire et tertiaire situees dans cinq zones representatives en Grande-Bretagne. L'article signale la distance entre le client et le conseiller, le cout et l'importance des visites aux locaux faites par le conseiller, portant sur les caracteristiques des divers conseillers, le champ du conseil, le statut de l'entreprise par taille et par secteur d'activite, et les differents emplacements. L'analyse demontre l'importance de la localisation: 60,5% des conseillers sont dans un rayon de 10km du client et 81,5% sont dans un rayon de 25km. On montre que l'importance de la localisation depend dans une large mesure de l'accessibilite et de l'emplacement du conseiller. La structure generale des rapports client-conseiller peut etre modelee precisement sur un modele d'interaction spatiale type. Une conclusion capitale est la suivante: pour expliquer la structure du choix de conseiller, il faut considerer simultanement la structure spatiale de la localisation des conseillers, notamment la taille des centres d'affaires ou ils sont implantes, et le role de la distance. BENNETT R. J., BRATTON W. A. und ROBSON P. J. A. (2000) Betriebsberatung: der Einfluss der Entfernung, Reg. Studies 34, 813-828. Dieser Aufsatz untersucht die externen Beratungsdienste, die kleine Betriebe zur Losung ihrer Probleme um Hilfe angehen, und zwar besonders die Entfernung zwischen Beratungsdienst und Kunde. Die Analyse stutzt sich auf eine kurzlich durchgefuhrte, mehrschichtige Stichprobenumfrage bei kleinen Betrieben der herstellenden und Dienstleitungen anbietenden Industrie an funf reprasentativen Standorten in Grossbritannien. Der Aufsatz berichtet uber die Entfernung zwischen Kunde und Beratungsdienst sowie Kosten und Umfang der Besuche seitens des Beraters am Ort, wobei die Aufmerksamkeit besonders auf Unterschiede zwischen Beratungsdiensttypen, Beratungsbereiche Grosse und Sektor von Firmen sowie Standorttypen richtet. Die Analyse beweist die Bedeutung der ortlichen Begrenzung: 60.5% der zur Beratung herangezogenen Firmen waren weniger als 10 km vom Kunden entfernt, und 81·5% weniger als 25 km. Es wird gezeigt, dass die hochgradige raumliche Begrenzung hauptsachlich durch leichte Erreichbarkeit und Standort des Beratungsdienstes bedingt ist. Es erweist sich, dass das ubliche Muster der Beziehungen zwischen Kunde und Beratungsdienst durch ein Standortmodell raumlicher Wechselwirkung genau wiedergegeben wird. Es wird als ein Hauptbefund angesehen, dass das raumliche Muster der Standorte von sich anbietenden Beratungsdiensten, insobesondere die Grosse von Geschafstzentren, in denen sie sich befinden, gleichzeitig mit der Rolle, die die Entfernung spielt, beachtet werden muss, um dies Muster bei der Wahl von Beratungsdiensten zu erklaren.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Bennett & William Bratton & Paul Robson, 2000. "Business Advice: The Influence of Distance," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(9), pages 813-828.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:34:y:2000:i:9:p:813-828
    DOI: 10.1080/00343400020002958

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert Bennett & Paul Robson, 1999. "Intensity of Interaction in Suppy of Business Advice and Client Impact: A Comparison of Consultancy, Business Associations and Government Support Initiatives for SMEs," Working Papers wp142, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    2. N M Coe, 1998. "Exploring Uneven Development in Producer Service Sectors: Detailed Evidence from the Computer Service Industry in Britain," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 30(11), pages 2041-2068, November.
    3. D Phillips & A D MacPherson & B Lentnek, 1998. "The Optimum Size of a Producer Service Firm Facing Uncertain Demand," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 30(1), pages 129-141, January.
    4. T J Fik & G F Mulligan, 1990. "Spatial Flows and Competing Central Places: Towards a General Theory of Hierarchical Interaction," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 22(4), pages 527-549, April.
    5. Steven Pinch & Nick Henry, 1999. "Paul Krugman's Geographical Economics, Industrial Clustering and the British Motor Sport Industry," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(9), pages 815-827.
    6. D M W N Hitchens & P N O'Farrell & C Conway, 1994. "Business Service Use by Manufacturing Firms in Mid Wales," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 26(1), pages 95-106, January.
    7. J N Marshall, 1983. "Business-Service Activities in British Provincial Conurbations," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 15(10), pages 1343-1359, October.
    8. B Lentnek & A MacPherson & D Phillips, 1992. "Optimum Producer-Service Location," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 24(4), pages 467-479, April.
    9. J H J van Dinteren, 1987. "The Role of Business-Service Offices in the Economy of Medium-Sized Cities," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 19(5), pages 669-686, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Sandeep Goyal & Bruno S. Sergi & Amit Kapoor, 2017. "Evaluating the BDS Providers and MSMEs: Challenges and Strategic Actions," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 29(4), pages 725-744, August.
    2. El-Sahli, Zouheir & Gullstrand, Joakim & Olofsdotter, Karin, 2017. "The Internal and External Effects of Offshoring on Job Security," Working Papers 2017:14, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    3. Vásquez-Urriago, Ángela Rocío & Barge-Gil, Andrés & Modrego Rico, Aurelia, 2016. "Science and Technology Parks and cooperation for innovation: Empirical evidence from Spain," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 137-147.
    4. Izushi, Hiro, 2003. "Impact of the length of relationships upon the use of research institutes by SMEs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 771-788, May.
    5. Robert J. Bennett & Colin Smith, 2004. "SPATIAL MARKETS FOR CONSULTANCY TO SMEs," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 95(4), pages 359-374, September.
    6. Bottasso, Anna & Conti, Maurizio & Robbiano, Simone & Santagata, Marta, 2020. "Roads to innovation: evidence from Italy," MPRA Paper 104735, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Peng Gao & Dan He & Zhijing Sun & Yuemin Ning, 2020. "Characterizing functionally integrated regions in the Central Yangtze River Megaregion from a city‐network perspective," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 1357-1379, September.
    8. Schwartz, Dafna & Bar-El, Raphael, 2002. "Targeted consultancy services as an instrument for the development of rural SMEs - a brazilian case," ERSA conference papers ersa02p200, European Regional Science Association.
    9. Edward Shinnick, 2002. "Identifying Spatial Markets for Personal Legal Services in Ireland," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 147-155.
    10. Kuhn, Kristine M. & Galloway, Tera L. & Collins-Williams, Maureen, 2017. "Simply the best: An exploration of advice that small business owners value," Journal of Business Venturing Insights, Elsevier, vol. 8(C), pages 33-40.
    11. Piet H. Pellenbarg & Paul J. M. Van Steen, 2004. "The Netherlands in Maps," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 95(3), pages 355-355, July.

    More about this item


    Business Services; Business Consultancy; Business Networks; Localization;

    JEL classification:

    • R19 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Other
    • L29 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Other
    • L89 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Other


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:34:y:2000:i:9:p:813-828. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.